Names - Persian

Persians of the nineteenth century did not use surnames. Men were given proper names, such as Muhammad, Husayn, or Ibrahim, and often more then one -- Muhammad-'Ali, or Rida-Quli. Many times the second name was one of the ninety-nine Most Beauteous Names of God, from the Qur'án. For example, 'Abdu'r-Rahim [Servant of the All-Merciful].

To distinguish one individual from another, titles and descriptions would be added to the given name. Haji Muhammad-Hasan Isfahani, for example, would indicate the man from Isfahan named Muhammad-Hasan who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca; Ustad Mahmud Banna would designate the Mahmud who was the master builder; and so forth.

The following are a few of the many titles and description added to Persian names:

Aqa: Sir, mister. General term of respect.

Darvish: A Muslim mystic. Often a wandering, mendicant ascetic who

traditionally carries an ax and a begging bowl (kashkul).

Haji: One who had made the Muslim pilgrimage.

Kashi: Someone from Kashan

Mirza: A general term of respect which usually indicates that the one

designated is literate. Used after the name it indicates a prince.  134

Mulla: A Muslim priest.

Shaykh: An elder; a chief; a professor; or the head of a dervish order.

Siyyid: A descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

Ustad: A master craftsman.

Ustad Muhammad-'Aliy-i Salmani, My Memories of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 134-135